Composting in Boston
Composting is the controlled decomposition of organic material. You create a rich, black soil that is great for your yard and garden. By composting, you reduce your garbage, save money, and enrich the soil.
Find a compost bin or bucket
Boston residents can buy subsidized bins and buckets at:
- Boston Building Resources
- 100 Terrace Street, Mission Hill (617-442-2262, Ext. 1)
Compost bins cost $58, about half off the suggested retail price. You could compost waste into about 200 pounds of rich dirt.
Kitchen scrap buckets costs $10. The bucket, which can hold seven liters, is an easy way to compost in the kitchen. You can also create your own compost bin at home.
If you don’t have a backyard, you can still compost. There are a couple of different ways you can compost indoors:
YOU CAN GET INVOLVED WITH THE COMMUNITY:
Project Oscar (named after the Sesame Street character) is Boston’s first 24-hour community composting program. Members of the community can drop off food waste at one of Project Oscar’s compost bins. Learn more about Project Oscar.
What makes a good compost pile?
The elements of a good compost pile include biodegradables, organic material, air, and moisture. To build your compost, you will need nitrogen-rich “green” materials, like:
- Food scraps (but not meat, dairy, fats, and oils)
- Fresh grass clippings
- Weeds (not laden with seeds)
- Coffee grounds
You will also need carbon-rich “brown” materials, like:
- Dried leaves
- Shredded paper
- Pine Needles (pine needles should not make up more than 10 percent of the material in the pile)
For the best results, follow these compost instructions. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection also has information on composting.
We collect leaf and yard waste
From April until the first week of December, the City collects and composts residents’ yard waste on specific recycling days. Download the full collection calendar.
Please place leaves and yard debris in large paper leaf bags or in barrels labeled “Yard Waste.” We won’t take plastic bags. Tie up branches with string and place them in barrels. Please don’t include branches that are longer than three feet. You can get a “Yard Waste” sticker for your barrel. Call 311 or make a request online. You can only get two stickers per household.